Lionel Messi watched from the stands as Paris Saint-Germain held off a second half fightback from Strasbourg to claim a 4-2 win in their first home match of the season.
There was a sense of spectacle before the match even started, with PSG presenting Messi on the pitch alongside fellow summer signings Gianluigi Donarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos and Georginio Wijnaldim.
This created some early momentum in the match for the home side who took the lead after just three minutes when Mauro Icardi got on the end of Abdou Diallo’s cross to flick a header over goalkeeper Matz Sels.
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A quickfire double through goals from Kylian Mbappe and Julian Draxler saw PSG take a tight grip of the match with Mauricio Pochettino’s side dangerous every time they entered the attacking third.
Strasbourg started the second half strongly and gave themselves a lifeline through experienced striker Kevin Gameiro, who headed past Keylor Navas to score against his former club.

Strasbourg's French forward Kevin Gameiro (1st-L) celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Racing Club Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on August 14, 2021

Image credit: Getty Images

The Parc des Princes crowd was stunned further when Ludovic Ajorque made it 3-2 with an exceptional glancing header as PSG, dominant in the first half, allowed their grip on the match to slip.
PSG were far from convincing in the final 25 minutes as an edginess crept into their play, but an Alexander Djiku red card saw the Strasbourg fightback end as the hosts made sure of the points through Pablo Sarabia who finished an Mbappe cross on 86 minutes.

TALKING POINT - Keeping Mbappe just as important as signing Messi for PSG

Mbappe was given a frosty reception by the home support as his name was read out in the warm-up, but the French forward highlighted his importance to this PSG team with his performance once the match started. So much of their attacking play flows through Mbappe. At this point, securing the 22-year-old to a new contract would be just as important to PSG as the signing of Messi was.

Paris Saint-Germain's Spanish midfielder Pablo Sarabia (L) celebrates after scoring a goal with Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Racing Club Strasbourg at the Parc des P

Image credit: Getty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH - Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

There was a period in the first half at which it appeared Mbappe had the freedom to stride past the Strasbourg defence at will. Icardi and Hakimi also played well for PSG, but Mbappe gave the hosts the spark they needed. Even when PSG allowed their performance levels to slump, the World Cup winner was the one who gave them a much-needed outlet to relieve some pressure.

Kylian Mbappe

Image credit: Getty Images

PLAYER RATINGS

Paris Saint-Germain - Navas 5, Hakimi 7, Kehrer 5, Kimpembe 5, Diallo 7, Wijnaldum 6, Herrera 5, Dina Ebimbe 6, Draxler 8, Icardi 7, Mbappe 9. Subs - Pereira 5, Sarabia 7, Kalimeundo 4, Rafinha 4.
Strasbourg - Sels 8, Fila 5, Sissoko 5, Djiku 4, Perrin 5, Lienard 5, Bellegarde 6, Aholou 6, Prcic 5, Gameiro 7, Ajorque 8. Subs - Thomassson 4, Diallo 4, Waris 3, Caci 3, Siby 3.

KEY MOMENTS

3’ GOAL! Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 Strasbourg: That didn't take long at all! PSG have the lead after just three minutes of this match! Diallo plays the ball into the box, Icardi had his back to goal somewhat, but the Argentine manages to flick his header over the goalkeeper and into the net!
25’ GOAL! Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Strasbourg: It's two! PSG have doubled their advantage through a big slice of good fortune! Mbappe cuts inside on to his right foot and gets the strike away, but it's the deflection off Ajorque that beats the goalkeeper and it's 2-0 to the hosts!
27’ GOAL! Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 Strasbourg: And now it's three! Brilliant play by Mbappe who showed quick feet to burst to the byline and get the cross to the back post. Draxler was on hand to finish from close range and this is starting to get extremely ugly for Strasbourg!
53’ GOAL! Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Strasbourg: Strasbourg have been the better side at the start of the second half and they have their reward! Gameiro drifted in between the two PSG centre backs and guides a header past Navas - he's scored against his former club!
64’ GOAL! Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 Strasbourg: Wow! Strasbourg are right back in this! They have scored a second and the alarm bells are surely ringing for PSG! Ajorque got ahead of Kimpembe to meet a cross and he powered a header past Navas who stood no chance!
86’ GOAL! Paris Saint-Germain 4-2 Strasbourg: And that should be that! Mbappe beat his man to burst to the byline, he fizzed a low pass across the six yard box and Sarabia was on hand to finish from close range! There was nothing the Strasbourg defence could do to stop that!

KEY STATS

Paris Saint-Germain have kept a clean sheet in just one of their last eight home matches in Ligue 1.
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